The Horse Race Insider is a privately owned magazine. All copyrights reserved. “Bet with your head, not over it.”

The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


By NYRA Press Staff — On behalf of Backstretch Employee Service Team, please consider helping B.E.S.T. as it seeks help for its backstretch workers.

B.E.S.T., which operates the B.E.S.T. Health Center located on the Belmont Park backstretch, is seeking additional donations in support of its efforts to assist the local racing community during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Donations to B.E.S.T. can be made via

B.E.S.T., boasting a staff of 15 full time workers and numerous volunteers, is tasked with providing backstretch workers free health care, life insurance, drug and mental health counselling, as well as food and clothing.

B.E.S.T is funded by the New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) and the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association (NYTHA) along with public donations and grants from private foundations.

“The public response to our recent fundraising call was deeply impactful and has allowed our organization to make certain improvements to our medical facility to enhance its effectiveness in responding to this pandemic,” said B.E.S.T. Executive Director, Paul Ruchames.

“B.E.S.T.`s medical and counseling staff have heroically put themselves on the front lines in this pandemic to protect the backstretch workers of Belmont Park.

“As we continue to navigate these uncertain times, additional donations will support our ongoing medical and counseling efforts to keep our community safe and healthy. We appreciate any amount and these donations will be used to expand our clinic service schedule.”

Backstretch workers experiencing symptoms of the coronavirus, or in need of other care, are directed to call the B.E.S.T. Health Center at 516-724-1497 to go through a screening process before arriving at the clinic. The B.E.S.T. Belmont Clinic is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

There is also an EMT service onsite, adjacent to the Dormitory Office at Gate 6, available as a complement to the B.E.S.T. Belmont Clinic which can provide evaluations and temperature checks. The EMT service is onsite seven days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Ruchames is a key member of NYRA’s Preparedness and Response Plan Committee, comprised of NYRA staff members as well as representatives from NYTHA and the New York Race Track Chaplaincy of America (NYRTCA).

The committee has closely assessed developments regarding the coronavirus to develop protocols following the most up-to-date health guidance established by the New York State Department of Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

For more information about B.E.S.T. and to learn about volunteer or donation options, please visit or contact Paul Ruchames at

Facebook Share
Twitter Share
LinkedIn Share

⚠ Before you comment

Our staff likes nothing better than to engage with the HRI Faithful and provide a forum for interaction on horseracing and sports. In that spirit, please be kind and reasonable; keep the language clean, and the tone civil. Comments from those who cannot comply will be deleted. Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *